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Monday, March 20, 2006

It'ttthhh Thpring Again!!! Everybody Know It'th, Thpring Again!!!

Today the dark days of winter end and spring begins, and this got me thinking: wtf is up with guys who have tassles on their shoes?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Ba mhaith liom pionta Guinness, le do thoil

I grew up in the suburbs of Buffalo, which is to say everybody I knew and everybody I dealt with on a regular basis, with one exception, was white. One result of this was that all the fights with friends and trash-talking in sports involved ethnic slurs, but really tame and harmless ones. Polak. Wop. Limey. Kraut. Mick.

The Polaks were all "dumb Polaks." The Wops were all "dirty Wops." The Limeys were all "fucking Limeys" because no one really knew how else to insult English people. The Krauts were "fucking Kraut Nazis," the only group that deserved two adjectives in this really incredibly mature display of playground name-calling. And the Micks were, of course, "drunk Micks."

Let's for a moment forget the fact that this literally was playground name-calling, and so with maybe one or two exceptions none of us 5th-graders had ever tasted alcohol, so much as ever gotten drunk. And let's also ignore the fact that the kid most often referred to as "dumb Polak" was easily the smartest one of the group, and is today going to medical school after just recently quitting his pursuit of a dual Ph.D-M.D. degree (that's right: he's so smart medical school is his back-up plan). Also, I sincerely doubt the "fucking Kraut Nazis" were fascist anti-Semites. And let's go even a step further and just ignore the fact that, aside from being really childish (again, literally), these stereotypes and insults weren't even relevent anymore as all the xenophobia and economic and class issues of the big European immigration waves of the early 1900s that brought about aforementioned stereotypes was in the distant past and totally a contemporary non-issue.

In other words, let's just ignore the fact that these insults were stupid.

We took them as serious assaults on our heritage and family's honor. At least the Polaks, Wops, Limeys, and Krauts did. I'm a Mick. There are Lappins, O'Connells, O'Farrells, Mullins, and Morans in my family. All Micky McIrishsons. And when the "drunk Mick" comment was thrown at me and Reidy and O'Neal and Shanahan, we just smiled and said, "yup." We weren't dumb or Nazis. We could (theoretically, at least) drink.

And so today, March 17 -- St. Patrick's Day -- all the Polaks, Wops, Krauts, and even some Limeys, along with everybody else (except Baptists), will join us Micks and embrace that one specific stereotype and get their drink on.


*Also, I have no idea how to pronounce the title of this post.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Blues v Spurs

No one's in the office so I have a Chelsea-Tottenham soccer game on the television. I don't follow the English Premier League too closely, but I'm pretty sure Chelsea just won the league by scoring a goal two minutes into injury-time to win the game.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

J - Lou - Murph

Just got an email from a friend re: a Dinosaur Jr. show. Aside from the general "am-I-free" question, I need to figure out (NOT if I want to see Dinosaur Jr, but rather:) how badly do I want my ears to bleed. I'm assuming they're still loud as hell...

Monday, March 13, 2006

Weekend Stuff that Devolves into Generic "I-Am-Getting-Old"-esque Tangent Topic

... and also some stuff that technically happened during the week.

- We won our first kickball game to bring the record to 1-4. We destroyed a (much) weaker team; the score was 9-0.
- We followed that up with a team party Saturday night. Wild times.
- Led by Gerry McNamara, Syracuse stormed through, and won, the Big East tournament. Yeah, that's right, Mac is overrated. Sure. NBA? No. But a great college player. The good guys are a 5-seed in the NCAA tourny now. I don't expect them to go too far, but it's good to see Gerry get one last shot.
- Sabres beat the Flyers 6-5 (scoring w/ 4 seconds left) and then dismantled the Bruins 6-2. This team is special.
- Watched the first 4 episodes of Season 1 of 24. I only started watching the show last season. It's weird seeing Tony and Jack not getting along.
- The Sopranos ruled. Big Love was interesting enough that I'll watch episode 2.
- I learned some Pogues songs on guitar in preparation for me getting too drunk to play them correctly this Friday (Paddy's Day). "Dirty Old Town" and "A Pair of Brown Eyes" are songs I guarantee I will screw up on Friday.
- Speaking of which, Guinness is good for you.
- Was informed by my friend Shaila that this August we will be friends for 10 years, which seems weird for 2 reasons:
a) My college friends are no longer my "new" friends. Double digit years is a big deal, and it doesn't seem possible I've known these people (i.e. college friends and even more specifically i.e. Shaila) for a decade. College friends : Los Angeles friends :: high school friends : college friends (8 years ago). I don't know what that makes high school friends now. Grade school friends?
b) Shaila claims August. But I think it's not until March or so of 2007 that we hit the 10-year-friendship mark. We're close friends, yet there is some confusion as to how exactly we know each other (well, more like confusion as to how we met). She says it's through her roommate, who I dated. And it's true we became friends because of that, but that would push our start date back to my March '97 claim. I feel like we had met before that, though, actually, as I think about it more now, seems wrong. So, to amend this point, I suppose I was erroneously informed by my friend Shaila that this August we will have been friends for 10 years. I will, however, have known Tim, Brian, Nevin, Chris, and Allison* for 10 years this August. (*Maureen, too, though I met her at a soccer tournament Junior year of high school and so, technically, I've already known her for 10 years. Even though we only played cards for an hour together at this tournament one night. And we didn't even really know each other, we just sort of vaguely remembered playing cards together at said soccer tournament a few months after we first (re-)met at college (which will have been -- this re-meeting -- 10 years ago this August.)
- X-Men 3 trailer looks sweet.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Sad TV

A few years ago Nick at Nite did The Wonder Years on one of their week-long marathons. For Monday thru Friday, they played nothing but The Wonder Years from 7pm to 1am (or something like that). They obviously couldn't air every single episode, but they hit all the important storylines and moments -- in chronological order -- and had you never seen the show before you could come away with a more-than-fair understanding of the whole series. Some friends and I watched every episode of this marathon, with the effect being we were totally and completely sucked into the show and emotionally invested in the stories again.

The last few episodes deal with a huge argument Kevin has with his father, after which Kevin quits his job at Mr. Arnold's furniture workshop. It's a classic Kevin-as-a-dick moment (he really is in the wrong in this argument), though maybe a little more understandable because there's some pretty serious Winnie-related stress going on in Kevin's life (as there ALWAYS is, but like I said, it seems more serious this instance). Anyways, after quitting his job, Kevin packs up all his belongings in his car and heads off to get a job at the country club where Winnie is working at the pool as a life guard.

To move this post forward, there's a lot of (melo-)drama which leads to Kevin and Winnie leaving the country club and having to hitchike home. They return just in time for the Fourth of July parade, at which point we, the viewers, get a slow-mo pan down the line of characters as Daniel Stern narrates their futures. Right away, we learn that Wayne took over the furniture shop a few years later, "after Dad died of a heart attack..."

At this point a lump grew in my throat. I was devastated. Throughout the series, lovable little Kevin Arnold acts like a prick, and EVERYTHING he does is in some way kept in check by Mr. Arnold. He grows up and learns from his experiences and friends, but it's Mr. Arnold's steady influence that keeps him straight. The narration continues and we learn Paul went to Harvard (of course) and that Kevin and Winnie remain friends but never married -- and this last fact is kind of a big emotional hit, but it really makes sense -- but the whole time all I can think about is Mr. Arnold. Dead from a heart attack. It's horrifying. To me, an emotionally-devastating moment in television.

There are a lot of shows I watch, and quite a few I got really into. But there are only a select few I can say I am/was a fanatic of. Current shows of this last variety include Deadwood and 24.

In the most recent episode of 24, a Russian terrorist infiltrates CTU and releases a toxic nerve gas. Jack, Bill, Chloe, Audrey, Kim, C. Thomas Howell's character are all saved by locking themselves in a sealed glass conference room. They're forced to watch other operatives die on the other side of the glass, poisoned. It's chaos. And then it's quiet. And there's no movement.

And then Edgar comes around the corner. He looks at Chloe. She looks at him.

And Edgar dies.

No matter how many Adrianna's I've watched get whacked; no matter how much I miss Lenny on the streets of New York, I haven't been this affected by a television show since I learned of Mr. Arnold's heart attack.

It's good to have something to look forward to on Mondays.

Monday, March 06, 2006

... and Burn

My senior year in college, three of my friends and I skipped our Friday morning classes and went to the very first screening of Gladiator in Syracuse. We had seen the trailers in the theater and ads on television, and it looked awesome. The four of us were convinced this would be the coolest movie ever.

About forty minutes into the movie, we were all laughing and cracking jokes at how terrible it was. Looking back, I think the people around us were getting annoyed, but we all thought the movie was so bad the idea that other people were trying to enjoy it never crossed our minds. When I saw Batman Returns in a packed theater, the whole audience was more interested in the commentary provided by a few random people scattered thoughout the theater (biggest laugh: Alicia Silverstone's character knocks on the door, and says something like, "Hi! I'm here from Oxbridge University in England." A guy a few rows above me goes, "England?" and starts laughing hysterically. The whole theater followed suit.) I figured Gladiator was the same way. (And yes, I am comparing Gladiator to Batman Returns.)

But so we get home and everyone asks us how Gladiator was. And we tell them. It's crap. And a few weeks later it's proclaimed to be the film of the year, and it eventually wins the Oscar.

So my point here is, Crash is an even bigger disappointment. God, that movie sucked.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Spellcheck Please

Mekka lekka hi, mekka heiny ho.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I've Got a Feeling

The Buffalo Sabres take on the Atlanta Thrashers in a few minutes -- their first game back from the Olympic break. They resume their quest to win the Stanley Cup, or, as I now refer to it, they begin their quest to win me $240.